Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Slow Start to 2013

The rivers finally dropped and Denis and I bided our time until we thought the level and clarity would be just right for our lure fishing approach. We opten to arrive at the water's edge during a match so that we could weigh up where the prey fish were shoaled up in the expectation that there would be a few pike hanging off the shoals. It didn't quite work out like that though, many of the matchmen were having a lean time of it and weights were poor. In fact it was noticeable that it was the better anglers who were getting the best weights - exactly how it should be I suppose but it didn't help us much.

After the match we dropped into a couple of swims where the matchmen had told us they were having pike trouble, with roach and chub being snatched off their lines. This can always be a hit-and-miss strategy since when the match is over there are several thousand disorientated roach chub and dace all being released back into the water - easy prey for any pike that are hanging around. I didn't catch in this last hour or so but Denis had a fish just short of fifteen pounds which took a perch-pattern replicant.

Next day we fished the match length but it was hard going. I picked up an 18lb 13oz pike very early in the day, almost before it was light but apart from a few bumps and follows on the lures that was all the action I had. The fish was caught on one of the new 9" Fox Replicants which I was trying for the first time. They are very different to the old type replicants, heavier and with a much more pronounced tail action I found it a little difficult to keep them down near the bottom where I wanted them.

We fished hard all day for little reward but Denis did find a pod of fish late in the day and made hay with seven in all, six of them over ten pounds. He took the biggest one after dark on a deadbait and he reckons it was eighteen pounds or so but never got to find out because after unhooking he slipped on the muddy bank and dropped the fish back in, unweighed.

Next day we split up and fished some different stretches of river. Nothing happened for either of us except that I had a fish follow my lures six or seven times without taking. I sat on it with a deadbait for a full hour but it wouldn't take that either and in the end we both met up again and finished the day on the match length. First cast here I hooked a bike. Not, not a pike, a bike, and although my line was strong enough to pull it to the side I couldn't lift it up the bank and the line snapped. Next cast the lure (an old-style euroreplicant) was seized by a nice pike which went 17lb 14oz. Then I had a follow off a much bigger fish which would probably have gone 25lbs plus. It followed twice but then wouldn't come back for more despite using all the usual tricks like a change of lure, different retrieve rate and so on.

We fished a different stretch again the next day but again it was frustrating. I picked up a jack early on and then had a jack hit the lure but not get hooked. Then I played cat and mouse with another small pike for some time, raising it seven times in all during which it missed the lure twice, bumped it several more and then finally got pricked after which it didn't return. My last cast of the morning resulted in a better fish which weighed 18lbs 5oz but was long and lean.doubtless due to lying up without feeding while it waited for the flood to abate.

We went home after that, puzzled as to why things had not gone well. The fish were being cagey and it was as if they were hook-shy but on three of the stretches we fished, they have hardly been fished for with lures at all. Oddly, the float anglers were reporting that the pike were not snatching their fish off the line but just coming up to look at them. I'll never work these pike things out!

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